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J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1918-25.

Early childhood development interventions and cognitive development of young children in rural Vietnam.

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Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Little is known about the long-term benefits of interventions that aim to promote early childhood development programs. The goal of this research was to determine whether an early childhood development intervention added to a nutrition intervention during preschool ages had lasting effects on the cognitive development of school-age children in communes of Thanh Hoa province in rural Vietnam. The study focused on a total of 313 children aged 6.5-8.5 y (grades 1 and 2 in primary school) in 2 communes that were exposed to nutrition intervention or nutrition and early childhood development (ECD) intervention from 1999 to 2003. Measurements of height and cognitive test scores (Raven's Progressive Matrices Test) were collected from the children; household characteristics were determined by interviews with mothers. Longitudinal analysis was performed by integrating the data with that collected from the same children in past surveys. Significant effects of the ECD intervention compared with the nutrition intervention were detected. The beneficial effect of ECD intervention on the cognitive test scores was large for the most nutritionally challenged children whose height-for-age Z-scores declined or remained in the stunted range. The findings help provide useful insights into the development of an effective integrated model of ECD and nutrition intervention for children in rural Vietnam.

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